Friday, February 27, 2009

Monarchy of the Father: Pensées

Very Succinct Explanation of Harmony of Monarchy and Filioque
1. From what I understand after reading abundant literature on the Filioque, the Filioque clause does not infringe on the precious Monarchy of the Father, and does not violate the Cappadocian Principle, because it does not attribute to the Son a property distinctive of the Father.{1} It would only infringe on the Monarchy and Cappadocian Principle if it made the Son the unoriginate source of divinity, i.e., gave the Son the notions of innascibility and paternity. But Filioque manifestly does no such thing.

Harmony of Cappadocian Fathers with Filioque
2. I don't believe that the Cappadocian Fathers, viz., Patriarch St. Gregory Nazianzen the Great Theologian of Constantinople, Bishop St. Basil the Great of Caesarea, and Bishop St. Gregory the Great of Nyssa exclude Filioque. St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Basil the Great clearly state that the hypostasis of the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son.{2} But they also clearly express that the Holy Spirit has His hypostasis from the Son in light of the Son's participation in the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit.{3} Would they not be of one mind on the Trinity? Even St. Gregory the Great of Nazianzus, with his very powerful emphasis on the Monarchy of the Father, does not exclude the Filioque.{4}

Energetic Manifestation

Notes & References
{1} "Compatibility of Cappadocian Principle and Filioque." The Banana Republican. 10 Oct. 2008. 27 Feb. 2009 <>.
{2} "Filioque: Fathers, Popes, & Councils." The Banana Republican. 25 July 2008. 27 Feb. 2009 <>.
{3} Ibid.
{4} "On Filioque, Against Mark of Ephesus, et al." The Banana Republican. 16 Oct. 2008. 27 Feb. 2009 <>.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Abortion: An Ongoing Dialogue With My Friend, Pt. 2

Mirror link

Zygotes are not persons
J: haha fantastic! well, my beef is really when the church seems to try to get involved in politics and this is another one of those issues where they seem to be trying to affec[t] law.
Editor: I would sin by omission if I did not proclaim the good news that the Catholic Church is truly the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, and so, to quote the article "Infallibility" from the old Catholic Encyclopedia, it "is, by a special Divine assistance, preserved from liability to error in her definitive dogmatic teaching regarding matters of faith and morals." Proving this is beyond the scope of these brief responses, however, and I have tried my best to argue in a secular manner, instead of appealing to, e.g., the authority of the Church in order to prove that we have an immortal soul from the moment of conception. So (1) the truth of Catholicism and (2) separation of Church and state are topics for another time, and right now I do my best to argue from non-controversial premises.
J: i find it kind of hard telling a teenage girl in high school that she can't get an abortion after a few weeks of finding out she's pregnant.
Editor: Granted it is a very tough situation to be in, but the right to life is fundamental and logically prior to any discussion of women's rights. Abortion is harmful to the woman, as well, and is an assault not only on the unborn child, but on the woman herself. And there is no such thing as a right to kill an innocent person, and below I show that the earliest life in the womb is a person (who clearly happens to be innocent).
J: (although i will agree that after the brain begins to develop, it is certainly out of the question.)
Editor: That's a start; so right off the bat you believe in the immorality of abortion at any point 40 days or later after conception.
J: the problem with calling the fetus a human in such early stages is the simple lack of brain activity, so there's really no consciousness there to begin with,
Editor: It is better to define a person as "an individual substance of a rational nature," as Boethius does. This definition encompasses the essential properties of personhood, but your definition is inadequate. Consciousness, reasoning, sentience, and the ability to communicate are not necessary for personhood because comatose individuals do not have these traits. Unlike your inadequate definition of personhood, Boethius' definition can account for why individuals in comas are still persons. This is because it does not construe personhood in a functionalist paradigm; i.e., his definition does not necessitate that the rational nature is being exercised, but rather that the rational nature is present. Even though the early collection of cells does not yet exercise rationality, the nature of the early collection of cells inevitably progresses toward a rational function that must proceed from what the developing being is by nature. It is impossible for a zygote to have undeveloped capacities for rational function (a function of personhood) unless the zygote is the kind of being that has such capacities for rational function; i.e., a being must already be a person at the start of its existence (in this case at the zygote stage) in order to develop a human brain needed for the present and immediate capacity to function as a person. In its earliest stages the human is not a potential person, but a potentially functioning actual person.
J: and, in context with christian principles, the spirit has not yet begin to develop.
Editor: On the contrary, it is official Church teaching that the zygote is already animated with a rational soul, i.e., that the zygote is a person from its very start. The following quotation comes from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's Instruction Donum vitae, I, 1: AAS 80 (1988), 79 on the Vatican website:
Thus the fruit of human generation, from the first moment of its existence, that is to say, from the moment the zygote has formed, demands the unconditional respect that is morally due to the human being in his bodily and spiritual totality. The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life.
J: at this point, we simply dont know enough about the first origins of our consciousnesses in the womb to make any judgment as to the humanity of terminating cellular life.
Editor: Above I disproved the notion that a person comes to exist only if he at one point achieves consciousness. Personhood must begin at the moment of conception if you are to avoid manifold absurdities. But if we did not know when personhood begins, would it not be better to err on the side of caution?
J: but, i'll let you make the last point and we can just agree to disagree haha
Editor: I thank you for graciously letting me make the last point, and I sincerely hope that my argumentation was compelling so that you can come to adopt the right viewpoint on this crucial issue. Thank you for being charitable and willing to hear me out, J. May God forgive me if I have not helped to change your mind.

Post-script: So ends the dialogue for the time being. What do you think?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Why I Don't Drink

1. I'm just not interested.
2. It's against the law for someone my age.
3. I have an addictive personality; if I did drink, I would quickly become an alcoholic.
4. I don't need to drink in order to have the most fun I can have.
5. I don't need to drink in order to fit in and mingle.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Miaphysitism vs. Monophysitism

The heretics misunderstand the great Sts. Cyril of Alexandria and Dionysius the Areopagite of Athens when they talk of the two natures and the two operations/energies, respectively. Their appeal to the authority of these two champions of the faith is useless because the heretics are not of one mind with these saints. Those who follow that exiled tyrant Dioscorus "the Great" of Alexandria{1} and the accursed Severus of Antioch{2} protest that they are not Eutychians and reject the label "Monophysite," calling themselves Miaphysite instead. The Wikipedia article for Severus of Antioch repeatedly calls him a Miaphysite. These apologists are blind to the fact that they are still Monophysites. I previously proved that Monophysitism is impossible: it is impossible that one compound nature results from the union of the divine nature and the human nature.{3} This is how the non-Chalcedonians or "Oriental Orthodox" differ in doctrine from those they claim as their Fathers:

One Incarnate Nature of God the Word
Orthodox (St. Cyril of Alexandria): "The one common nature viewed as a whole in the subsistence of the Word" became incarnate (the explanation of St. John of Damascus), and one compound hypostasis (this is the sense of the terminology of St. Cyril) results from the nature of the Word uniting flesh to itself in Person (explanation of St. Thomas Aquinas); see "Miaphysitism." The Banana Republican. 25 Feb. 2008. 30 Jan. 2009 <>.

Heretical: One compound nature results from the union of the divine nature and the human nature.

Theandric Energy
Orthodox (St. Dionysius the Areopagite of Athens: Divine Names 2): The divine energy uses the human energy and the human energy shares in the power of the divine energy.
Quote from St. Dionysius [DN 2]: "Whatever pertains to His human operation the Father and the Holy Ghost no-wise share in, except, as one might say, by their most gracious and merciful will … He is truly the unchangeable God, and God's Word by the sublime and unspeakable operation of God, which, being made man for us, He wrought."
Quote from St. Dionysius [Epistle 4]: "What is of man He works beyond man; and this is shown by the Virgin conceiving supernaturally and by the unstable waters bearing up the weight of bodily feet. … He performed Divine works not as God does, and human works not as man does, but, God having been made man, by a new operation of God and man."

Heretical: One compound energy results from the union of the divine energy and the human energy.
Quote from Severus of Antioch (cited in St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica): "Yet one, i.e., Incarnate Word, wrought one and the other--neither was this from one nature, and that from another; nor can we justly affirm that because there are distinct things operated there are therefore two operating natures and forms."

Dear Lord, please bring the non-Chalcedonians back to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen.

Notes & References
{1} "Was Dioscorus 'the Great' of Alexandria Orthodox?" The Banana Republican. 27 Sept. 2008. 10 Feb. 2009 <>.
{2} "Was Severus of Antioch Orthodox?" The Banana Republican. 26 Nov. 2008. 10 Feb. 2009 <>.
{3} "Monophysitism Is False" The Banana Republican. 30 Jan. 2009. 10 Feb 2009 <>.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Questions on the Corpus Areopagatum

Update 2/27/2018: Dear readers, sorry for neglecting to finish this post. Stay tuned. See also Thomas Cordatus (5/22/2013), "Dionysius the Areopagite" <>. St. Dionysius, pray for us!

Here are some questions as to the strength of arguments against authentic Dionysian authorship of the Corpus Areopagatum, as well as questions about possible indications of an earlier date. Call me insane and proud, but I am inclined to agree with Georges Darboy{1} and the monks of the Monastery of St. Dionysius on Mt. Athos that Bishop St. Dionysius the Areopagite Martyr of Athens (d. 96) is the true author of the Corpus Areopagatum.{2}

1. Does the author's quotation of the Gospel of Bartholomew in Mystical Theology 1:3 indicate that the author wrote before the New Testament canon was closed? Or is this part of a scheme to trick readers into believing in the authenticity of the writings in question?{3}
2. Does the author's mention of anointing of the dead indicate that he was contemporary with early Jewish Christians? Or is this part of a scheme to trick readers into believing in the authenticity of the writings in question?{4}
3. Are we going to affirm that the many saints who attested the authenticity of the works were so incompetent at historical criticism as to not see that the writings are not authentic?{5}
4. Does St. Jerome the Great in fact allude to writings by St. Dionysius the Areopagite? In Epistle 17A9 St. Jerome the Great describes a certain extremely scripturally erudite Greek who gives a detailed description of Seraphim, which seemingly corresponds to the writings in question.{6} Could this, coupled with the fact that St. Jerome mentions that certain writers will not suffer by not being named in his catalogs, satisfactorily explain why St. Jerome does not name St. Dionysius in De Viris Illustribus?
5. Is it plausible that Christian instructors of the first Neo-Platonists transmitted the Dionysian traditions, or the Neo-Platonists found the Dionysian writings in the private Athenian libraries, and the Neo-Platonists plagiarized and then hid them so that they would avoid the embarrassment of being caught lifting ideas from a Christian source?{7}
6. Is the use of but one Chalcedonian Christological adverb ("unconfusedly") enough to date the writings after the 451 Council of Chalcedon?{8}
7. Do scholars have so much difficulty in identifying the real author of the Corpus Areopagatum because they are trying to put the writings in the wrong century?
9. St. Ignatius of Antioch

11. St. Timothy

12. Eusebius of Caesarea

13. Is it plausible that all of the following were duped into wrongly thinking that the Corpus was written by St. Dionysius? Antiochus Monachus "of the Sabas Monastery near Jerusalem," Modestus of Jerusalem, St. Sophronius of Jerusalem, Pope St. Martin, St. Maximus the Confessor, Pope St. Agatho, the Sixth and Seventh Ecumenical Councils, St. Anastasius of Sinai, St. Thomas Aquinas, Bl. Henry Suso O.P.

Note: Bear with me while I add even more authors cited in the introduction of Georges Darboy, the martyred archbishop of Paris.
14. The earliest extant manuscripts of Tacitus and Aristotle are from 1,000 and 1,400 years after their their deaths, respectively (Fr. Thomas Crean, O.P., God Is No Delusion, 2007, 63-64): does this information weaken the arguments of those who claim the explicit recognition of St. Dionysius as the author is too late?

Notes & References
{1} Darboy, Georges. Œuvres de Saint Denys l'Aréopagite. Paris: Sagnier et Bray, 1845. 18 Feb. 2009 <>.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!

Happy Birthday Dad! You're the best and I love you! You are exceptionally wise hardworking, loving, talented, funny, smart, and athletic. I wish you all the best.

Love and prayers,